2015 NBA Mock Draft 1.0 (Picks 1-15)

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Updated: January 25, 2015
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Here we are halfway through the NBA season, and boy have there been some surprises. The New York Knicks are out “Sixering” the Philadelphia 76ers, the Atlanta Hawks are the best team in the East and our MVP talk doesn’t involve the names Kevin Durant or LeBron James. This is also the time of the year where you can start getting a feel as to where each team figures to be in the standings. With a draft that looks as talented as last year’s class, here’s the first version of how we think it will pan out.

1. New York Knicks: Duke C Jahlil Okafor

There’s not much of a debate here. Okafor is the best big in the draft, and it’s not even close. He maintains excellent footwork, a great feel for the double team, and has the potential to be a double-double threat in his first season. There are some concerns in terms of his ceiling, and whether his lack of athleticism will be a problem when going to the next level. However, his offensive prowess and instincts will be too much for the Knicks to pass up.

2. Minnesota Timberwolves: Kentucky C Karl Towns

Towns fits the Timberwolves’ system perfectly as a young, athletic big who can get up and down the floor. With the Timberwolves most likely looking to embrace the youth movement going forward, having a nucleus of Ricky Rubio, Andrew Wiggins and Karl Towns wouldn’t be a bad place to start. Towns is still pretty raw on the offensive end, but he has all the tools to develop into a All-Star talent. And he would have every opportunity to do so in Minnesota.

3. Philadelphia 76ers: China G Emmanuel Mudiay

This pick was a tough spot for the 76ers, as they could easily go with Arizona‘s Stanley Johnson here, but I think they go Mudiay for a few reasons. One, Mudiay is an absolute playmaker. He can create off the dribble for himself and knows how to work the pick and roll, which is huge for any point guard’s success in the NBA. Also, I’m not sold on the fact that Philadelphia is all in on Michael Carter-Williams. There have been reports that they’re looking to trade him for a first-round pick, and they are still a good amount of teams that could step up to the plate and make that deal this offseason. If that ends up being the case, the Sixers won’t miss a beat. Mudiay is huge (6-foot-5), and has potential to be a good two-way player with a little more work on his jump shot and free throw shooting.

4. Los Angeles Lakers: Arizona F Stanley Johnson

Johnson is one of my favorite players, and Los Angeles would make the perfect home. Johnson is a big kid at 6-foot-8, with a 6-foot-11 wingspan and a strong frame at 243 lbs. His body will translate seamlessly into the league, and so will his defensive potential — something that will make him a coach’s favorite instantly. His offensive game is still a work in progress, but he understands how to fill lanes, makes the right reads and has some post-up potential. His weakness lies in his jump shot, which can be corrected easily considering not turning 19 until a month before the draft. And he’ll most likely have one of the greatest players in NBA history mentoring him in Kobe Bryant. Johnson is a young, fiery kid who will be the perfect guy to take the reins from Bryant.

5. Orlando Magic: Duke G/F Justise Winslow

Another young guy at just 18-years-old, Winslow is an athletic wing, who defends and rebounds, but has a very raw offensive game. With a point guard like Elfrid Payton, who will make his job on offense easier, Winslow will be able to get a majority of his points in transition early on in his career, as he continues to find himself on the offensive end. He will be a great potential pick.

6. Utah Jazz: Kentucky F Trey Lyles

I could honestly see Utah trading this pick because of the overflowing young talent they already have, but if they don’t, I think they look to acquire Lyles. He will most likely pan out to be a power forward in the NBA. He has great footwork, nice range and the ability to score from anywhere inside the arc. His limited athleticism could be a problem when guarding some quicker bigs, but he’ll be in a pressure-free situation in Utah — most likely playing behind Derrick Favors and Rudy Gobert.

7. Indiana Pacers: Ohio State G D’Angelo Russell

With Paul George set to return, the Pacers are going to need another scorer to help ease the load while he acclimates back to his usual self. And Russell fills that role perfectly. As a pure scorer, he would have the opportunity to come into a situation where he can excel and give Indiana the scoring punch they desperately need. With a 6-foot-9 wingspan, Russell will be able to be a solid defender. Even though he’s not that athletic, his poise and ability to use the pick-and-roll will make up for most of that. The Pacers could either turn Russell into a point guard because of his unique size and vision or make him their 2-guard. Either way, this would be a very welcomed addition.

8. Boston Celtics: Kentucky C Willie-Cauley Stein

After five years, Boston will finally get it’s rim-protecting center. Cauley-Stein has been the best defensive center by far in this draft class, showing the ability to protect the paint, guard smaller players on the pick-and-roll and control the boards. His limited offensive ability can be a bit of a problem, but with a game that mirrors DeAndre Jordan, there isn’t much not to like.

9. Sacremento Kings: Duke G Tyus Jones

The Kings have been searching for a point guard for a long time. After most likely missing out on the Rondo sweepstakes, the Kings won’t need to look anywhere further than Tyus Jones. He has a great feel for the game and knows how to create for both himself and others, while displaying excellent leadership qualities. His jump shot is still a work in progress, but that may be the only real flaw in his game.

10. Detroit Pistons: Louisville F Montrezl Harrell

With Greg Monroe set to test free agency, there’s no telling where he may end up. Harrell will give them an excellent backup option in the case he does bolt. Harrell is big, long, a good rebounder, and with added range to his jump shot, can fit the profile of a stretch 4. Paired with either Andre Drummond or Monroe, and his game would seem to fit seamlessly in the event that Monroe does re-sign. But if he doesn’t, he has all the skills to start in the NBA today.

11. Charlotte Hornets: UCLA F Kevon Looney

At this stage of his career, Looney is still an energy player. With a huge 7-foot-1 wingspan for his 6-foot-9 height, he has great defensive potential — especially as a shot-blocker. He has a high motor, is a beast on the boards and plays with a lot of passion. Right now his offensive game is limited on cleaning up the mess on the offensive glass, and spot-up shooting, but at 18 years old, there’s plenty of time for his game to pan out. In Charlotte he would make an excellent frontcourt mate to Al Jefferson by being able to pick up the slack where he lacks defensively.

12. Brooklyn Nets: Texas F/C Myles Turner

With one of the few draft picks the Nets will be seeing, they will most likely go for a big potential player, and none may not be bigger than Myles Turner. At 6-foot-11, with a 7-foot-4 wingspan, Turner has the defensive potential and athleticism to play either front-court position. His offensive game, though still a bit raw and inconsistent, contains some nice post moves, step-backs, and range that stretches out to beyond the arc — which makes him an excellent stretch 4 candidate. With Mason Plumlee already starting to become a great option at the center position, getting Turner will create a great young front-court tandem that they can build with for the foreseeable future.

13. Denver Nuggets: Kansas G Kelly Oubre Jr.

With Danillo Galinari and Wilson Chandler going into the last year of their contracts, the Nuggets should take a chance on Kelly Oubre Jr. He’ll need to bulk up a little bit so that he’s able to defend the forwards at his position, but his length gives him the physical tools to be able to hold his own. His offensive game is pretty intriguing. He can finish at the rim, though he struggle at times with contact, and his jump shot is solid — though his 3-pint shooting is still questionable. His length makes him a good rebounder, but up to this stage he still has shown little potential in creating for others. He would be a great fit in Denver where he could play in the D-league a bit to develop his game, and then take the reins once Gallinari and/or Chandler are out the door.

14. Philadelphia 76ers: Kentucky G Devin Booker

After snagging Mudiay with their lottery pick, the Sixers should immediately draft his backcourt mate Devin Booker. So far on Kentucky, Booker has become their go-to guy when they need offense, and his lights out shooting is a reason why. His measurements aren’t that appealing and won’t help his overall defensive potential, but his IQ level and just great feel for the game will make him an excellent candidate to play alongside Mudiay.

15. Houston Rockets: UNLV F Christian Wood

With Terrence Jones, and Donatas Motiejunas entering the last year of their contracts, and Josh Smith set to be a free agent, the Rockets will need to sure up their frontcourt. Insert Christian Woods. With great size, measuring at 6-foot-11 and a 7-foot-2 wingspan Woods has great defensive potential, but needs to continue to bulk up if he has any prayers of being able to defend NBA bigs. He has shown some ability to put the ball on the floor and get by slower bigs, and has potential to be a 3-point threat, but none of those skills are something that he can do on a consistent basis. In Houston he can be an end of the bench player who bounces up from D-League where he can sharpen his game to become Dwight Howard‘s eventual frontcourt mate.

 

Photo Cred (Streeter Lecka/Getty Images North America) 

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